Any traveller on holiday to Vietnam will have noticed the central role beer plays in Vietnamese culture. Whether it’s drinking a cold one to wash down spicy food or sitting on a street corner chatting away the night with friends, the Vietnamese know how to enjoy their beer.
As temperatures spike above 40°C (104°F) at some points in the summer, a cool, refreshing beer is the perfect add-on at any time of day. And the Vietnamese beer market definitely delivers a range of flavours for different tastes.
The Best Place for Beer in Hanoi
Hanoi’s top stop for beer lovers is easily Bia Hoi corner at the crossroads of Luong Ngoc Quyen, Ta Hien, and Dinh Liet. Tens of small shops throw open their doors and windows every afternoon to sell Hanoi’s favourite beer and they don’t close until the kegs are empty, generally around midnight.
Bia Hoi is brewed fresh every morning and delivered in the early afternoon, making it a perfect after-work tipple or late-afternoon break. Selling for as little as 7,000 VND (about 30 U.S. cents), Bia Hoi Hanoi has a lower alcohol percentage of about 3-4% as it hasn’t had as much time to ferment. This generally leads corner-goers to down more of the light-tasting beer, often before a meal of roasted meats or a hearty bowl of pho at any of the surrounding restaurants.
The Best Place for Beer in Saigon
Saigon’s famous tourist street, Bui Vien, is in the middle of the Pham Ngu Lao backpackers district and is the ultimate spot for beer in the south. (It also serves mixed drinks if you’re looking for that.) When the sun sets, shop owners lay out small tables and plastic stools which line the way from store fronts to the street.
Order a 333 or Bia Saigon, both likely brewed in Saigon, and buy something to nibble on from the street vendors passing by on bicycle or cart. Whether it’s prawns barbequed with a chili sauce or dried squid dipped in a sour tamarind-soy sauce mix, you’re sure to find something you’ll like to eat.
It’s rude to say no to a beer in Vietnam, so start planning your trip to raise your glass with locals and foreigners alike. You’re sure to find plenty of things to like and even some new things to take home from Vietnamese beer culture.
Alternate Possible Ending/Wrap Up (more technical): With the market having grown by 11% in 2013 alone and with foreign companies such as AB-InBev and Sapporo investing heavily in the country, the Vietnamese beer market continues to grow and reveal itself as a beer-lovers paradise. So the next time you’re thinking of a trip to Germany or Belgium, widen your search and think about a trip to Vietnam.